Private Forestry Bill to propel koalas to extinction 

Barely a week after conservationists, business and community came together in Coffs Harbour to plan for the return of healthy koala populations across NSW1, the NSW Government has chosen to undermine all recovery efforts by stripping away restrictions on Private Native Forestry.   

National Parks Association CEO Gary Dunnett said the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Private Native Forestry) Bill 20222 effectively removes local government’s ability regulate logging in private native forests.  

MEDIA RELEASE: community comes together to show visiting state politicians they want  a Great Koala National Park

 Local Coffs Harbour families and businesses will come together this week to demonstrate their support for the Great Koala National Park, as the region hosts a koala conference (The Vanishing).  

Local business owner Louis Riley said our community wants to ensure politicians take adequate steps to protect the much-loved koala, which is iconic to our region.  

NSW parliamentary debate on ending native forest logging shows government is out of touch with community expectations

A 21,000 strong parliamentary petition to end native forest logging triggered yesterday’s NSW parliamentary debate — a sign that it is time to transition our dying native timber industry into sustainable plantation timber.

NPA NSW Acting CEO Samantha Newton said NPA NSW was one of 14 conservation groups who rallied in front NSW Parliament to show their support for ending public native forestry logging.

Forestry Corporation’s last dash to log koala habitat on the mid-North Coast

Danielle Ryan and James Sherwood, Conservation Campaigners

“They are rushing. They can see the end is coming,” says koala expert John Pile. He is referring to Forestry Corporation’s overzealous response to the recently renewed North Coast Wood Supply Agreement, which allows logging to continue for another five years.

The mood amongst local campaigners living in the proposed Great Koala National Park region is grim, as they watch Forestry Corporation slowly chip away at public forests known as core koala habitat.

Overall, there are 20 State Forests in the proposed area for The Great Koala National Park which have been designated for logging, as ‘proposed’, ‘planned’ or ‘active’. As of July 2022, Forestry Corporation are actively harvesting three State Forests in the area, Clouds Creek (Compartments 30, 31, 32, 33), Ellis (3, 4, 5, 6) and Thumb Creek (5,6) and have approval for four more Bagawa (1), Boambee (4,5,6,7), Collombati (9,10) and Conglomerate (23).

Out of control Forestry Corporation caught destroying more Koala habitat

The NSW Forestry Corporation has yet again been prosecuted for destroying public native forests.  The latest prosecution is for illegal activity in the heart of one of the world’s great forests, the proposed Great Koala National Park.

“Any confidence in Forestry Corporation’s planning and governance lies in tatters after yet another breach,” said National Parks Association CEO Gary Dunnett.

Citizen scientists deliver welcome koala news

The National Parks Association of NSW applauds today’s release of a landmark citizen-science survey of a ‘bearly’ known population of Koalas in Heathcote National Park.  The survey, involving more than 600 hours of field survey by respected local naturalists Steve Anyon-Smith and Tom Kristensen, photographed 32 individual koalas and suggests a total population of a least 100 koalas in Heathcote National Park.

NPA has written to Environment Minister Matt Kean asking for the Heathcote Koalas to be declared as an Asset of Intergenerational Significance.  This is a new legislative measure designed to guarantee the protection of highly significant areas of biodiversity value within protected areas. 

‘We really didn’t expect to find a substantial koala population in a national park with only a handful of historic records’ stated report co-author Steve Anyon-Smith.  ‘Early on we wondered whether it was just a few wanderers from the better known colony near Campbelltown, but once we saw that first female with a joey we knew it was much more’. 

NPA Executive Officer, Gary Dunnett noted ‘The future of koalas hangs in the balance because of continuing habitat loss, development, unsustainable forestry and the devastating impacts of the 2019/20 fires.  This report of breeding koalas right on the doorstop of Sydney should bring a smile to everyone’s face.

‘This report is a testament to the power of citizen science.  The results are only possible because of the hundreds of hours they spent in the field, which has given us a standard of coverage that most researchers could only dream of.  These two citizen scientists have provided the National Parks and Wildlife Service with detailed information worth tens of thousands of dollars at absolutely no cost. 

‘The Heathcote National Park koalas need all the help they can get if they are going to survive into the next century.  They will need protection from disturbance and domestic dogs and keeping their habitat in the best possible ecological condition.  A major challenge will be making sure their habitat trees aren’t damaged by too-frequent fire’. 

‘There is every reason to feel hopeful about the future of the Heathcote koalas, even if they have gone largely unnoticed to date’ Gary Dunnett continued.  ‘The next big challenge is to protect other ‘at risk’ koala populations.  The time has come for the NSW Government to adopt NPA’s proposals for the Upper Georges River National Park in southwest Sydney and the Great Koala National Park on the mid north coast’ Dunnett concluded.  


Media Contact: NPA EO, Gary Dunnett: (02) 9299 0000

Copies of the report Anyon-Smith, S. and Kristensen, T (2021) Observed distribution and numbers of Koalas Phascolarctos cinereus in a habitat survey of Heathcote National Park July to September 2021 below